If there’s one thing that connects all the various playoff systems in modern sports, it’s that a lot of people think they last too long and I’ve got to say it’s pretty hard to argue with that.
The NBA playoffs last from the middle of April to the middle of June, a span of about two months, or at least it does when there’s not a lockout going on. The same goes for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, resulting in the slightly surreal concept of ice hockey in June.
It’s not always all that better in college sports either. The NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament, commonly known as “March Madness” now lasts all the way into April. Last winter, Division I FBS college football teams participated in 35 different bowl games lasting from December 18 all the way to January 15.
And to go back to professional sports for a minute, even the Super Bowl, which as late as 1977 was still being held as early as January 9, hasn’t been played in January since 2003. And for the second straight year, the NFL regular season will stretch into the first week of January.
Which is why it’s extremely refreshing to know that the World Series this year will end no later than October 27, assuming that the Fall Classic goes to a full seven games for the first time since 2002. MLB has long been one of the worst offenders when it comes to making the postseason drag on too long.
In recent years, off days between almost every single game of every single round have made even the shortest best-of-five first round series drag on. Before 2009, the only time the World Series had stretched into November was in 2001, when MLB canceled almost an entire week’s worth of games in the wake of 9/11. It’s lasted into November the past two seasons.
This year, come Halloween, we’ll know which team is the champion of Major League Baseball. And who knows? Maybe having more meaningful postseason baseball to watch this month will make it more interesting. At least it’s worth a shot.